Jake Owen’s Barefoot Bluesfest Night
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Photos by Andre Gagne
A packed night to be sure, Tuesday was a well-rounded affair for RBC Bluesfest. Between rap, alt-rock and country from three class acts in their field, it felt like constant headliners the whole night regardless of their placement on the bill.
Showing so much more sonic variety than so many of his contemporaries, Jake Owen filled his set with sax, trap and even the 70s. Between his palm trees the singer ripped through guitar solos alongside his band-mates. Using a drum stick to play his guitar he certainly shocked fans playing "Anywhere with You". After a flaring 70s guitar intro reminiscent of Frank Ocean's "Pyramids" he moved into "Alone With You" on a subdued crowd sing-a-long.
"Can I get a yeee haaaww" he shrieked taking off his shoes and sitting down with the crowd as the cowbell rang out for "Yee Haw." "The One That Got Away" found Owen whipping picks out the fans between bars on his twelve string, lifting his mic stand over the crowd every chorus, as they took over the song. Throwing synth into the finale he even sang a bit of "Jessie's Girl" to close it out.
Also outshining many of his peers was the sheer musicianship from Owen and the band, with drums, keys and multiple guitars going berserk at any given time. Returning for his encore to a starry backdrop he brought the crowd to hysterics on "Barefoot Blue Jean Night", mixing in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air rap surprisingly well. Closing out on "American Country Love Song his brass and guitar players moved up with him in a line, showing some coordinated moves for his finale.
Going full throttle when he finally came on, it was a little disappointing for the crowd to sit through ten minutes of pure DJ mixing in Fetty Wap's 45 minute set. After this however he and Monty wasted no time working the stage shooting power fists and jumping several feet high at any moment. Throwing his booze anthem "679" and tracks like "My Way" he made sure his short set was a crowd pleaser.
Moving about the stage like they were haunting it, Peter and Leah even posed dementedly around each other throughout their crazy set. Opening on "Picturing Love" and "Summer Dress" they certainly grabbed the crowd's attention as they started. Taking a fan's disposable camera from the front row, Leah ran around taking pictures for him onstage before giving it back. Dragging each other in chokeholds and even Lady-and-The-Tramp'ing a microphone mid song, they made their slower songs even more intense than the fast ones. Slinking and jittering their way through "Lola + Joseph" and "Headsick" fans were screaming and clapping to every screech. Leah cried "You're gonna help us song a love song" before they launched into "Guns & Ammunition" with a loudly cooing crowd that crow-surfed Peter without hesitating.
Thanking Bluesfest for being the first for being the first fest to book them they launched into "Paper Girl". Bringing a bottle of Jameson down to the front row, Leah took the same fan with the camera and gave more than a hearty swig of the whisky. Hitting the stage again, they launched into "Push + Pull" bringing their heavy hitting stops and starts to round out their set.